A federal judge ruled that Mississippi must allow religious exemptions for vaccines now required for entry to public or private schools. It turns out that most states allow religious exemptions. Public health must take a back seat in this new age of vaccine hysteria.

Ashton Pittman of the Mississippi Free Press reports:

Anti-vaccine activists are celebrating in Mississippi after a federal judge struck down the State’s long-standing childhood vaccine requirements for public or private school attendance, saying the State must allow religious exemptions like most others already do. Mississippi is one of just six states that only permits childhood vaccines for medical reasons, with no religious exemptions.

The Texas-based Informed Consent Action Network funded the lawsuit, filed in September 2022, arguing that the lack of religious exemptions for vaccines violates the First Amendment’s guarantees of the free exercise of religion. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi Judge Sul Ozerden agreed with ICAN’s argument.

The George W. Bush-appointed judge’s order says that starting on July 15, the Mississippi State Department of Health “will be enjoined from enforcing (Mississippi’s compulsory vaccination law) unless they provide an option for individuals to request a religious exemption from the vaccine requirement.” The State could still appeal the ruling, however.

Mississippi’s compulsory childhood immunization requirements include a vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; for polio; for hepatitis B; for measles, mumps and rubella; and for chickenpox. The State does not mandate COVID-19 vaccines. Mississippi has the highest childhood vaccination rate in the nation, a fact that MSDH has attributed to strict vaccine laws. While other states with more permissive vaccine laws have reported measles outbreaks in recent years, Mississippi has not reported a case originating in the state in decades.